ALA and YouTube followup

My post from last week on the ALA presidential debates and YouTube seems to have struck a cord with some librarians, and I’m somewhat pleased with the results. At the same time, I definitely am guilty of what Karen Schneider says: “…he spent too long explaining how ALA isn’t “getting it” and not enough time talking about what’s right about this project.” This is completely the case. I did pick on the details of the announcement, without clearly saying “BRAVO!” to the ALA and more specifically (again, as Karen pointed out) to the Jim Rettig presidential task force that is continuing to do good things for the ALA. I do think that this is absolutely where the ALA needs to be going. But just because they picked the right destination doesn’t mean that I can’t critique their driving skills. :-)

With that said, I’m overjoyed that the ALA changed the rules to allow for non-member question submission! Thank you, thank you, thank you to whomever took that forward to the powers-that-be, and to all the non-members who might want some clarity on what the ALA is good for: here’s your chance to ask the presidential candidates your questions. Don’t waste the opportunity.

The other part of my suggestion, that anonymous submissions be allowed, wasn’t changed in the submission policies. Karen even says, in her post:

Besides, what would an “anonymous” YouTube film look like? Hand puppets? Mr. Bill? (”Budgets slashed, oooooooooh noooooo!”) Anyone who really had a burning question they couldn’t ask themselves could always find a friend willing to do it. I’ve fronted questions for people in all kinds of situations.

True that people could always find someone to front their question, but why should that be necessary? There are a million ways to do an anonymous question….not all videos have to be talking heads. A voice over a video of book stacks would work just fine, and creating a sock-puppet YouTube account is, needless to say, a trivial matter. Again, I ask: If these videos are being screened before being responded to (which they are) then why does identity matter?

I’ll admit this is a particular obsession of mine, but anonymous speech is important and necessary for the freedom of speech to be a real thing. Any time that I see the capacity for anonymous speech being held back for no particular reason that I can discern, I’m predisposed to push for it.

5 thoughts on “ALA and YouTube followup

  1. “I’ll admit this is a particular obsession of mine, but anonymous speech is important and necessary for the freedom of speech to be a real thing.”

    Yes, and my obsession is with transparency and accountability. I think anonymity is a pimple on the butt of the Web.

  2. And I think that anonymity is a necessary evil if we are to allow for the ability to say what you want.

    I won’t disagree that anonymity + internet = asshat. But to paraphrase, I may not like what you say, and I may even think that it is wrong to say it, but I will defend your right to say it. Even the asshats on the web.

  3. Well, we’re going to have to disagree on this — not on the value of free speech, but on this specific example. But that’s ok, we can disagree. See you at Midwinter. :-)

  4. ALA MidWinter is off my radar this year.

    I am not a fan of anon posting in general.

    I am considering shooting something debate related this weekend. If anons have important questions, perhaps they could post them here and have their voices heard. I also might gain new insights into the organization from the feedback.

    BTW – More videos, more ideas. I hope at least a few ALA members pick up a video camera before the deadline. If non-members are interested, that’s great too!

  5. “I’ll admit this is a particular obsession of mine, but anonymous speech is important and necessary for the freedom of speech to be a real thing.” Yes, and my obsession is with transparency and accountability. I think anonymity is a pimple on the butt of the Web.

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